Files

Some teams like to include their entire design process within individual files, while others prefer to splice up their flow into separate files.

Our advice here is make a call on how heavy your files typically become, and then either:

  1. If you usually have a lot of image-heavy research, keep this inside its own, separate file. The recommendation here would be to use the same naming convention for your main file, but append it with “– Research”. The performance gains from smaller, more nimble files will be noticeable, and you’ll thank yourself months later when you aren’t forced to navigate a complex file with little context
  2. If your discovery work is ordinarily loose and made up of components, shapes and text, keep it all inside one file on a separate page. I’d probably name this "Discovery" to keep things simple

Okay, let’s get into the page structures. I’ll be working on the assumption here that you’re part of #2 above.

The page structure of dreams consists of:

  • Visual research: A home for all those wonderful Dribbble screenshots we like to use as inspiration
  • User research: A space for user testing flows and concepts
  • Discovery: This is where we put all of our (amazing!) rejected or rough ideas
  • Flow: This is where we can start to pull together our formalized ideas into a structured canvas for feedback
  • Ready for development: Once sign-off by the key stakeholders has been done, we organize our work in this page. Don’t even think about editing this page once the URL has been shared with your developers 😉

Pro tip: If you find yourself working on a file that has already passed sign-off (we’ve all been there), use the Status Annotations plugin to signify your progress on individual pieces of work.

If you want to go to the next level, you can even include spacer pages in your side panel so that there is more distinction between phases.

Wait, wait, wait. Where are the emojis? Let’s jazz this thing up.

Now we’re cooking with gas.

What a ride! We hope you’ve picked up some useful tips and tricks with this best practice guide. Stay tuned for guides on how best to structure your design libraries and design systems teams.